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Are women pastors shameful? A response to John MacArthur

Are women pastors shameful? A response to John MacArthur

John MacArthur's sermon on shameful women pastors

Culture of Shame

Why is there a culture of shame on the head of women who preach the gospel? Faulty teaching is currently harming women and dividing many churches, and that is so sad. The divisive views on women must be answered in a sound and respectful way and I hope that this post will help. One source of the faulty teaching is a brother in Christ who labels women preaching the gospel as shameful women pastors. Several years ago I received permission from Pastor John MacArthur’s ministry Grace to You to use his audio quotes to refute his teaching on women in ministry. His shocking quotes are documented in our DVD production “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?

I also mailed several copies of the completed 4 DVD set for John MacArthur and Phil Johnson’s use at Johnson’s request.  Phil Johnson is John MacArthur’s executive director of the Grace to You broadcast ministry. I have not heard back from Phil Johnson since that time.

I am amazed, but not really surprised, that John MacArthur stepped into the fray again on the subject of women and the gospel. MacArthur is now 80 years old and celebrating 50 years pastoring his church. He has a long history of expounding the Bible verse by verse in a way that can help people understand the Word of God. Yet on the issue of women, he links together verses from other contexts while he ignores verses in the same chapter that show problems with his interpretation.

Clear context?

The context appears “clear” to MacArthur, while other scholarly authors of commentaries find puzzling contradictions in the same passage. We know that the Bible does not contradict itself, so astute students of the Word should expect more from MacArthur since he states that the passages are “clear”. He must explain and not ignore the apparent contradictions.

current controversy surrounding John MacArthur exploded during his 2019 Truth Matters Conference when MacArthur spoke against a popular woman preacher.

During a Q & A session, Todd Friel asked MacArthur to give a pithy statement about Beth Moore. MacArthur’s response was dismissive, “Go home,” he said. Many Christians responded in shock, sending the internet into a tizzy from what seemed like an unChristlike attitude from a respected Pastor. MacArthur countered with an even stronger sermon. He doubled down on the subject of silencing women and sending them home as shameful sinners. In his sermon titled, Does the Bible Permit a Woman to Preach? MacArthur identified an inherited stigma of shame on all women. He also delivered a scathing rebuke for shameful women who preach the gospel. He calls them women in rebellion to God and he attaches their act of public speaking to the same category of sins as coarse language, sexual jesting, and filthiness.

Preaching the gospel will destroy the church?

MacArthur is sure that women preachers will ultimately destroy the church if they are not stopped from preaching. John MacArthur is wrong on this issue and his culture of shame hurts women who want to be Christlike servants. Their desire to be faithful to Christ through using their gifts for the common good, is spoken of as evil. In this post, I unravel MacArthur’s problems with 1 Corinthians 14:34-36. I hope to do future articles on MacArthur’s other proof texts from his sermon as I have time.

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Complexity and Presuppositions

John MacArthur says that 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 is clear. But many of those who have written commentaries on this passage do not claim that these are “clear” passages. In fact, even the apostle Peter wrote that some of Paul’s writings are hard to understand.

2 Peter 3:14–16 (NASB) 14Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

The Baker New Testament Commentary concurs that 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 is difficult. In Volume 18 page 512, they write:

To resolve the difficulties with this text, we need to do as we have done with other passages: consider the structure, the larger context, and preeminently the themes or principles Paul was explicated.

The First International Greek Testament Commentary by Anthony C. Thiselton agrees. He writes about immense complexity on page 1146:

The translation and exegesis is immensely complex. Contextual facts are vital including presuppositions about what the addressees were assumed to understand by language of which we know only Paul’s part of the dialogue.

Bob Utley in his commentary, Paul’s Letters to a Trouble church: I and II Corinthians Vol. 6 page 166, writes that Paul’s words are difficult and paradoxical:

It is difficult to know how to handle this issue biblically because of the seemingly paradoxical statements of Paul, such as 1 Cor. 11:4-5 compared with 14:34.

Our presupositions

We presuppose that Paul’s writings are inspired. Even though Paul’s words can be very complex and require effort to understand, his words appear to be written in such a way that any misunderstanding of Paul’s meaning will cause a glaring contradiction in the text. When Paul is understood properly, his writings will flow without contradiction as with all Scripture. Paul was the apostle who greatly valued women and he worked alongside women and commended them to the church. Paul needs to be understood alongside his actions and his prior teaching.

The Elusive Law

John MacArthur claims that there is a biblical LAW that keeps women silent in the assembly. 

1 Corinthians 14:34–35 (NASB) 34The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says35If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

We need to find this Law. Where are women told to keep silent in the assembly? Once we find this law, we can start to appreciate Paul’s wisdom.

John MacArthur identifies the referenced “Law” as the entire Old Testament. However, the Old Testament has no command that requires the silence of women in the assembly. Without a clear command, how can women know what God identifies as sin? “For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” Paul wrote these words about the importance of clarity in 1 Corinthians 14:8. He argues for clear and understandable messages.

An indistinct sound

An unclear and ambiguous command is like an indistinct bugle sound. It has no meaning! Why would Paul contradict himself from his words at the beginning of the chapter and then point us to a biblical law that cannot be located? God gave specific commands because He wants to keep us from sin. We know that Paul did not make up a new law. Where is the specific reference to the silencing Law? This Elusive Law must be found and Paul will help us with that!

I have an entire section on the Elusive Law from 1 Corinthians 14 on my video. Rather than list all the important points in writing, I have included a free online link to my 4th DVD which I believe will be very helpful to understand Paul’s context and his reference to the Silencing Law. This is the best way to explain 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 that I have found. I want those who cannot afford to purchase the DVD set to have access to this teaching, so I have included the link below. Click on the video link below or find the link on Youtube here. The introduction to the video is found here and that explains all of our presuppositions. There are also huge problems with John MacArthur’s interpretation of Paul which he does not address in his sermon and I have refuted them in the video.

 

Did Paul stop the Preaching of the Gospel by ANYONE?

John MacArthur is determined to shut the mouths of women pastors who preach the gospel. Why? Because he accuses these women of having a selfish ambition to overpower and control men. If such a thing were true, Paul already handled this issue with Christlike wisdom. Paul’s attitude toward those who preach Christ out of selfish ambition is gospel-based.  

Philippians 1:15–18 (NASB) 15Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,

Paul reminds the Philippians of the priority of the gospel. If you find a person who is proclaiming the gospel out of selfish ambition, then rejoice because the gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed! The truth of the gospel is vastly more important than the motive of the heart.

Paul never stopped the preaching of the gospel at any time. The NASB translates Paul’s response in verse 18 as, “What then?” Other translations render it this way:

“What does it matter?” NRSV, CSB, HCSB; “But so what?” CJB; “But that doesn’t matter” CEV; “It does not matter” TEV

What does it matter?

This is a problem for John MacArthur. The apostle Paul affirms that motive doesn’t matter but the preaching of the gospel does matter. How could Paul contradict his “What does it matter?” position to stop the preaching of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 14? When your understanding of Paul contradicts Paul’s clear teaching in his writings, you can be certain that you don’t understand Paul right. John MacArthur needs to explain why Paul celebrated the preaching of the gospel even though he acknowledges a selfish ambition existed. Paul accepts that the gospel is not chained. (2 Timothy 2:9 NKJV). Satan is the one who silences the gospel. Satan wants all Christians to shut up and go home. I am certain that Paul would be appalled if he knew that pastors were using 1 Corinthians 14 to stop the preaching of the gospel.

No learning?

John MacArthur does not address the contradictions in 1 Corinthians 14. All may learn in the assembly but women have to go home to learn from their husbands? Note these problems:

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:23 shows the context as the entire church assembled. Verse 26 mentions “when you assemble” and “each one” participating. If each one is participating as the entire church is assembled, why would Paul contradict this by saying that the women can’t participate in speaking or learning (verses 34-35?)
  2. In verse 14:31, Paul permits all to speak one by one so that all may learn and all may be exhorted. If all may learn, why would Paul contradict himself within just a few verses to write that if a woman desires to learn she has to go home?
  3. If Paul’s concern is that all are edified and none left out (1 Corinthians 14:17, 24, 26), why would he change his view within just a few verses to promote a contrary view that women are to be left out? Why would Paul contradict himself by restricting women from edify others and stop them from learning in the assembly?
  4. Paul identifies that the edification must be done in an orderly manner (verse 40).  Was Paul not contradicting himself by withdrawing the “all my learn” to assert that the learning is for men alone in a public setting? Is there to be no public learning by women?

Paul did not contradict himself and I have provided the answer to these question in my video clip here. I also have a post on not letting a woman learn here.

Women voices are filthy?

In John MacArthur’s sermon on women pastors who preach the gospel, he states that a woman who speaks publicly in the church is shameful. He explains that the Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 14:35 references filthy, silly talk or coarse or sexual jesting which is shameful, disgraceful and improper. However, he does not explain how the voice of a woman used for the public proclamation of the gospel is filthy! That is quite a claim.

MacArthur brings no insight from the 1 Corinthians 14 context where all are encouraged to speak in the assembly and all are encouraged to learn. He also does not explain why Paul states that we should rejoice whenever the gospel is preached. How can Paul take back his rejoicing and contradict himself by identifying gospel preaching as filthiness when coming from the mouth of a woman? MacArthur is certainly not rejoicing whenever the gospel is going forth. Instead, he believes that women who preach the gospel will destroy the church. His interpretation makes Paul contradict himself again and again.

I present my interpretation in the video clip on 1 Corinthians 14. This explains the inspired grammar, Paul’s purpose for writing, and Paul’s context of what he had already said.  Paul can be understood without contradiction!

Paul’s concludes his original command

At the end of 1 Corinthians 14, Paul sums up how the church body should edify one another. Look at verse 39 in the Amplified Bible:

1 Corinthians 14:39 (AMP) So [to conclude], my brethren, earnestly desire and set your hearts on prophesying (on being inspired to preach and teach and to interpret God’s will and purpose), and do not forbid or hinder speaking in [unknown] tongues.

Paul commands two things in verse 39:

  1. Earnestly desire to speak out (prophesy). This is a repeat of 1 Corinthians 14:1, 3.

    1 Corinthians 14:1, 3 (NASB) 1Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy3But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.

  2. The church is commanded to not forbid the one who speaks a message in tongues (as long as there is an interpreter and the tongues are limited to 3). This references 1 Corinthians 14:27-28. Paul’s purpose is not to silence anyone, but that all can understand the message. Unknown, indistinct words cannot edify anyone.

Paul repeats the command to earnestly desire spiritual gifts. This command contradicts John MacArthur’s teaching that women must not desire to speak publicly.

Context is Key

Paul concludes that speaking must be done properly and in an orderly manner. Notice that Paul is advocating for the edification of all. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is out of step with Paul’s clear counsel for all to be edified. The two difficult verses are included for a purpose even though they are confusing to many people. These verses are not “clear” but contradictory to Paul’s command. The text needs hard work by us to understand Paul without Paul opposing himself! Context is key.

Paul is answering a letter

Many people miss the fact that Paul has been answering a letter sent to him from the Corinthians (see 1 Corinthians 7:1). Paul has been quoting and then refuting the Corinthian allegations from their letter to Paul.

Throughout 1 Corinthians Paul quotes from the disputable matters from their letter and he provides corrective answers back to the brethren. The Corinthians were not confused by what Paul meant when he answered back, because he was answering their letter. But without the ability to read their original letter, it is easy for us to be confused. However, if we diligently look through Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we can identify what appears to be opposing views found side by side. For example in 1 Corinthians 6:12 there is a statement “All things are lawful” and right after that is a logical contrastive, “but not all things are profitable” which contradicts the statement that all things are lawful. Paul has several references to the Corinthian’s letter.

In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 Paul references divisions and quarrels in the Corinthian church.

People sent from Chloe

Paul said that people sent from Chloe informed him of the contentious divisions and it is likely these people also delivered the Corinthian letter to Paul. Chloe appears to pinpoint the problem to bring to Paul.

1 Corinthians 1:11 (NASB) For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.

Paul responds to “you, my brethren” and he writes to them as brethren, and as ones promoting the quarrels. He tells them that Christ is not to be divided and that the gospel must be maintained as the key uniting factor. So with Paul responding to the brethren who have been quarrelling and dividing the congregation, we should expect to see references to divisive doctrines and disputes in Paul’s letter. We must make sure that we do not take a divisive reference to be Paul’s view. Contradictory views aren’t Paul opposing himself! 

Paul quotes the Corinthians and then he writes a corrective response to their errors. Which of the two contradictory views is Paul’s view? We need to test the words by the context, and by what Paul has previously taught. The statement that is an error will not be repeated in the Scripture, but the truth is repeated over and over again. Truth has a second witness. Errors stand alone and are refuted, not repeated.

God’s truth has a second witness

As Paul is responding to the Corinthian’s letter he lists the error and he immediately corrects it. The error does not have a second witness. Is it taught elsewhere?  Every sin that is exposed in the Scripture has a second or third witness. If it is a sin for a woman to speak in the assembly, there would be a second witness because God wants us to know His will and He wants to keep us from sin. God repeats Himself for our benefit and Paul did too. Paul wrote about this in 2 Corinthians 13:1.

2 Corinthians 13:1 (NASB) This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Common sense tells us that releasing women to earnestly desire to prophesy for the edification of the assembly, then silencing them saying their voices are improper, disgraceful, or filthy, is a contradiction that is untenable. Which command is from Paul? His consistent encouragement to allow ALL of them to prophesy one by one so that ALL may learn and ALL may be exhorted trumps the out-of-place and not repeated argument for women’s filthy voices to be silenced and women to be sent home to learn from their husbands. 

1 Corinthians 14:31 (NASB) For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;

Can you see the problem?

Go through 1 Corinthians and see where you can find Paul saying one thing and then immediately refuting that view. Then look back at 1 Corinthians 14. Are there two different views listed in this chapter?

All are commanded to earnestly seek for spiritual gifts (especially to prophesy) to edify the church. Paul’s command is clear at the beginning of chapter 14 and he concludes the chapter in the same way. In-between these encouraging words are very harsh, and divisive views about women. The quarrel view says women’s voices are filthy (improper, disgraceful) and they are not allowed to speak, and must go home to learn. Which one of these views is Paul’s view? And which view is not in lockstep with what Paul has already said? Remember Paul is answering back to the quarrels and the divisive brethren.

Which is Paul’s view?

Which view of women is the divisive view and needs to be corrected, and which view is Paul’s view? Remember Paul cannot contradict himself! Paul is not discussing shameful women pastors.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 verses are part of the dispute brought to Paul for Paul to bring correction. The silencing of women is part of the quarrels and divisions found among the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:11). The two difficult verses are included for a purpose even though they are confusing to many people. These verses are not “clear” but contradictory to Paul’s command and the text needs hard work for us to understand Paul without Paul opposing himself!

Paul’s disgust at those who silence women

Right after the two out-of-place commands silencing women and disallowing them to learn in the assembly (they have to go home to learn), Paul uses a logical disjunctive to start verse 36. The English words “Was it” is a logical disjunctive conjunction.

Women pastors 1 Corinthians 14:36 disjunctive rebuts the opposing view

The disjunctive links together opposites and rebuts an idea.  

Women pastors Logical disjunctive

What is Paul refuting?

In 1 Corinthians 14:36 Paul refutes the bad tradition of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.  Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 14:36 (NASB) 36Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?

Paul is saying (*Refutation*) Did the word of God first come forth from you (only men) And has it come only to you (only men can receive the gospel and learn in the assembly)? 

Was the gospel FIRST given to you?

Why is Paul asking if they are the ones from whom the gospel was FIRST given? Because it wasn’t men who were first sent out with the gospel of the resurrection. It was women who preached the gospel of the resurrection of Jesus first. The gospel was given to women at the tomb and they were told to go and tell His disciples.

Matthew 28:5–7 (NASB) 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

If the gospel was meant to be given only from men, then why did God choose women to be the first ones to receive the gospel and why did He chose women to be the first ones to go and tell that gospel to the disciples?

Paul answered back to the men who were restricting women — Did the word of God FIRST come forth from you men? And has the gospel ONLY COME to you men? Those who stop women from preaching the gospel and learning in the assembly are speaking the same words as the Corinthians did to Paul. And Paul is telling them that women handled the gospel FIRST. God’s choice and His way is clear. Women are included in the preaching of the gospel.

Paul refutes the “men only” argument

It appears that these men thought they are more spiritual than Paul and they could correct Paul. Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 14:37 (NASB) If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.

Paul is saying that If anyone thinks he is a prophet (one who speaks for God) or spiritual (one who corrects error), let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment (Paul had written that all should seek to prophesy SO THAT all may learn and all may be exhorted.) Paul will not let these opposers stop women from learning and he will not let them stop women from proclaiming the good news. Instead, he affirms that the command for the entire assembly to seek earnestly to prophesy so that all may learn, is a command from the Lord Jesus Himself.

Shameful Women pastors or ignorant people who stop them?

Paul challenges those who place their spiritual wisdom ahead of the command of Jesus. Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 14:38 (NASB) But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

When Paul says that if anyone “does not recognize this” the literal meaning is “to refuse to acknowledge”.

Women pastors 1 Corinthians 14:38 those who refuse to acknowledge

Those who refuse to acknowledge the things (plural) that Paul has written are actually refusing Paul’s source because Paul said it is the Lord’s commandment. Women were the first ones given the gospel after the resurrection, and women were chosen by God to preach that gospel to the apostles. For men now to disregard women and say that women cannot learn in the assembly and they cannot speak forth to edify the assembly, this restriction is against the commandment from God Himself.

What should be done regarding those who refuse to allow women to learn and refuse to allow women pastors to speak? Paul writes disregard and ignore them. Why? Because they are showing their ignorance.

Women pastors 1 Corinthians 14:38 they are to be ignored

Reversing the Shame

The culture of Paul’s day limited women. Jewish tradition also limited women. Women were not allowed to touch God’s Word and girls were not taught the Law as this was considered shameful. Women were regularly disregarded and ignored and their testimony was considered untrustworthy in court. However, the shame that the culture placed on women was permanently removed by Jesus. Amazingly, Jesus chose women to be the first ones to bring the gospel of the resurrection. The men had to listen to them because they were that the ones sent by Jesus.

The gospel was first preached to men by women. From the time of that first command, women worked alongside men bringing the gospel to the world. When the ignorant and selfish ones in Corinth were demanding that women in the churches be silent and women must go home to learn anything, Paul corrected their error by reminding the divisive ones that the command was from the Lord Jesus.

I love Paul

I want to publicly say that I LOVE Paul, and I so appreciate him boldly encouraging women to earnestly desire to prophesy. That command still resonates today. We are to earnestly desire to speak the Word of God to benefit and to encourage and exhort others. And if men tell you that Jesus cannot use a woman like you, then listen to the words of Paul and ignore them! 

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? 4 DVD set

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? parts 5-7 Women and Authority

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? parts 5-7 Women and Authority

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? Parts 5-7 Women in Authority

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? Parts 5-7 Women in Authority

Parts 5-7 of my Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? DVD is now available on VIMEO at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/wim

Parts 5-7 includes: 1 Corinthians 14: The Elusive Law; 1 Timothy 3: Follow the Leader; Galatians 3:28 Equal to Serve.

The video can be rented or bought on VIMEO.

For anyone wanting to buy the higher-quality 4 DVD set, it is available by clicking the buy button. The cost is $24.99 plus shipping.



 

 

Context is Key

Context is Key

Context is Key on WIM by Cheryl Schatz

CONTEXT is Key

Recently, I listened to a pastor describe the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. I was very interested to hear what he had to say since I had never heard anyone explain the context of 1 Corinthians to show how there is support for the silencing of women. I was quite surprised when he claimed the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 was 1 Timothy 2.  I had heard him emphasize the importance of context, context, context many times. However, his explanation of what qualifies as context was always the same as mine. The context of a disputed verse are the verses and chapters that surround it. It is never a passage in another book. While another passage in another book can be related, it isn’t the context. So I asked him again. Could he please give the direct context from the book of 1 Corinthians that supports the silencing of women. I have not yet heard back from him, but I thought it would be a good idea to go back through the entire book of 1 Corinthians to gather all of the evidence that Paul documents for why the two verses of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 were added to his letter. I found so much more than I expected from looking at a wider context! There is way more material than I could put into one article, so I am going to try to distil the evidence into categories and then I will give a conclusion of Paul’s reasoning. I will challenge anyone who thinks I have not considered the entire context. I welcome you to bring me correction and show me the supporting context from the book of First Corinthians that defines and upholds the silencing of women in the church.

CONTEXT: The Corinthian’s Letter to Paul – Questions and Claims

  • 1 Cor. 1:11 Paul reveals there are quarrels among the Corinthians – information passed on to him from Cloe’s people. The key purpose of the book is to deal with these conflicts and quarrels. Watch carefully throughout the book of 1 Corinthians how Paul ties in his correction with the source of the conflicts.
  • 1 Cor. 7:1 Paul mentions a letter that the Corinthians had written to Paul. The letter from the Corinthians to Paul plus the report from Cloe’s people bring to Paul information about the quarrels.
  • 1 Cor. 7:25 Paul moves on to another area of concern; “Now concerning” virgins.
  • 1 Cor. 8:1 “Now concerning” things sacrificed to idols.
  • 1 Cor 16:1 “Now concerning” the collection for the saints. All of the “now concerning” references are Paul answering what had been sent to him in writing.

Other comments that Paul makes do not directly reference the letter from the Corinthians, but they appear to answer challenges, claims or arguments. For example, 1 Cor. 6:12 says:

1 Corinthians 6:12 (NASB) All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

Are “all things” lawful for Paul? The negation that follows appears to be Paul’s answer to the writer of the letter who claims not to be under any law. “All things are lawful for me,” the letter says, but Paul answers “BUT NOT all things are profitable.” Again, “All things are lawful for me,” the writer concludes, but Paul answers, “BUT I will NOT be mastered by anything.” Paul’s testimony in all the churches is that we are under the “law of Christ.” We can fulfill the duty to Christ through love and service to our brother (Gal. 6:2.) Anytime a statement is made in 1 Corinthians that appears contradictory to Paul’s known position we can suspect that Paul is dealing with issues that were presented to him, for Paul does not contradict himself. The fact that Paul consistently speaks about setting aside what is good for oneself and aiming for what is helpful for others as the “common good” should tip us off that the arrogant claim that “all things are lawful” is part of the quarrel among the Corinthians.

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Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to enter the digital future

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to enter the digital future

WIM digital

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? is now available for download or viewing online

Update: All of my Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? DVDs are available for downloading or viewing online here.

The DVDs also include audio bytes from those who disagree with women in ministry and we break down the arguments and compare the arguments to the Scriptures.

The 4 DVDs are broken up into scriptural passages as follows: 

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Two gifts or one? Pastors and Teachers

Two gifts or one? Pastors and Teachers

Two gifts pastor and teach on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Teacher and pastor – One category or two?

The bride of Christ has been given gifts but are teacher and pastor two gifts or one?

God has given many gifts to the church, and the main purpose of the gifts is to edify the body of Christ so that God will ultimately be glorified.  Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 14:12 that we are to strive to excel in the gifts that will build up the church.

1 Cor 14:12  So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. ESV

While Paul encourages Christians to excel in building up the church, most complementarians do not believe that women are allowed to build up the church by being gifted as teachers.  How can they disallow the Holy Spirit’s ability to Sovereignly decide who receives the gifts?

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Do the genders have different functions?

Do the genders have different functions?

I am creating a new post to continue the great discussion that we have been having on a previous post while I am out of the country.  The original discussion is on this post https://mmoutreach.org/wim/2009/07/05/wayne-grudem-part-2/ and since we have grown to over 240 comments, I would ask that we continue our discussions with Mark the complementarian here.

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

 

Debate

On July 27th, 2009 Mike Seaver and I started a ten session debate on Women in Ministry where I was able to ask Mike questions on his position, he answered my questions and then we each had one response.  Mike is still considering whether he will continue with another ten sessions where Mike will ask me questions, and I get the privilege to answer his questions on women in ministry.

Today I would like to summarize the ten sessions that I had with Mike.

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Aussie debate on women in ministry

Aussie debate on women in ministry

 

fight3 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

There is a good natured debate going on over at the Women in Ministry blog conference at the Presbyterian church in Ryde blog between myself and Peter Barnes.  Those who would like to watch an Aussie and a Canadian duke it out over the issue of whether there is a “law” that forbids women to teach the bible to men can see the “brawl” (tooth and nail fight!) happening on this post linked here.

In the meantime I am visiting with my elderly folks for the next few days and will be in and out of my own blog as I have time as I also try to make time to help an Aussie realize that all of his arguments are invalid 🙂

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 10

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 10

Whose commands are women to obey? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Responses to question #5

In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her fifth set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #5 and Mike’s rejoinder.  Mike’s matching blog post is here

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Does God Contradict Himself? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry

Women in Ministry Debate – Does God Contradict Himself?

This is question #5 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.

Question #5 by Cheryl Schatz:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Freedom or Restriction? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Women in Ministry Debate: Freedom or Restriction?

Responses to question #4

In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her 4th set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #4 and Mike’s rejoinder.

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

What authority do men have to restrict women's gifts? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Women in Ministry Debate: What authority do men have to restrict women’s gifts?

This is question #4 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.  Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.

#4 Question by Cheryl Schatz:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

Who's the boss? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry 6

Who’s the Boss?

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her third set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #3 and Mike’s rejoinder.

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Cheryl’s response:

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Ask John Piper – Do some complementarians deny women opportunities?

Ask John Piper – Do some complementarians deny women opportunities?

John Piper picture on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Do Some Complementarians deny women opportunities?

On John Piper’s website is posted a question that someone asked of him about the application of complementarianism that affects women.  The question is:

Do you think complementarianism is so important to some people that they deny women more opportunities than the Bible denies them?

I was shocked at John Piper’s response.  You really need to listen to it for yourself.  Click on the link above to hear an audio version or see the video clip. 

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New blog conference on women in eldership

New blog conference on women in eldership

I have been invited by Pastor Dave Woolcott to participate in a new blog conference on women’s eldership in the church put on by the Ryde Presbyterian Church in Ryde, Sidney, Australia.   The blog address for the conference set for September 1 – 15, 2009 is http://www.achurchinryde.com/blog/ The blog is on line now and active and I invite you to participate by commenting on Dave’s blog.

There is a thought-provoking article on “Should a Pastor Rule Over You?”  It is very appropriate to the issue of women in ministry and what the real issues are.

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 4

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 4

Witnesses and repetition needed? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Are Witnesses and Repetition needed to Prove Women may not teach the Bible?

In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her second set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #2 and Mike’s rejoinder.

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Regarding Mike’s denial that there is a need for a law to have a second witness:

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 2

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 2

Judge on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Facing the spiritual “law” head-on from 1 Corinthians 14

In the last post, Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz started a discussion/debate on women in ministry.  Here is a link to Cheryl’s Question #1 given to Mike.  This post will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers and Mike’s response to Cheryl’s response.  Mike’s corresponding post on his Role Calling blog is here.

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Cheryl responds to Mike’s answers:

God’s law is always clear and distinct.  Paul explained in 1 Cor. 14 that a word that is not clear is as useless as speaking into the air with no one to hear or understand.  Similarly, a law that is not clear or distinct has no power to prepare a person to identify sin, keep away from sin and judge sin.  The clearness of God’s law prevents us from misunderstanding what God requires.  God has blessed us with a clear message and the clearness of the message guides our conduct.

On the contrary, an unclear word produces confusion, disagreement amongst Christians and an inability to prepare for spiritual warfare.

1 Cor 14:7  Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp?

1 Cor 14:8  For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?

1 Cor 14:9  So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.

I have noticed how useful Paul’s words are for judging false interpretations about the law.  Whenever I have asked complementarians to point to the “law” that forbids women from speaking in the congregation, I have noticed the indistinct sounds that come forth without a consensus among complementarians about where this “law” is to be found or even what the “law” forbids.  Instead, we hear indistinct words like “probably” “possibly” “seems to be” “not absolute” “likely” “general pattern”.  Not only is there no “distinct” and “clear” law that can be pointed to in the Old Testament, but no matter what is “guessed” for the original location of such a “law”, complementarians are unable to explain how the wording of the OT quote qualifies as a law.  How does the account of the creation of the woman provide the basis for such a “law” (no other law is ever stated in such an unclear fashion) or what the law even mean?

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 1

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 1

building-bridges on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Building Bridges on the Women in Ministry debate

Today is the first post of a discussion between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  The format will be as follows:

Post 1 – Question #1 by Cheryl then answer by Mike

Post 2 – Response to Mike’s answer by Cheryl and rejoinder by Mike

Post 3 – Question #2 by Cheryl then answer by Mike

Post 4 – Response to Mike’s answer by Cheryl and rejoinder by Mike

This format will continue until all five questions have been posed and answered with responses by both parties.  After this Mike poses questions to Cheryl, and the order above will be reversed until all five questions have been answered and responded to by both Mike and Cheryl.  Mike and Cheryl will both be posting the discussions on each of their blogs.  Cheryl’s blog is Women in Ministry, and Mike’s blog is Role Calling. Mike’s corresponding post on debate question #1 is here.

Mike Seaver

We hope that the respectful dialog that Mike and Cheryl have will be thought-provoking.  Both of our blogs will be open for comments although our ability to respond to the comments may be limited due to our busy schedules.  We just ask those who would like to comment feel free to do so making sure to keep on topic and with no personal attacks.  God willing the discussion will be Christ-like and respectful even though both of us will be passionately arguing from our own viewpoint.  We are hopeful that this will be a step towards building bridges between the two sides so that if nothing else at least complementarians and egalitarians will see the other point of view presented in a respectful manner.  After all, we are all in the body of Christ, and despite our differences, we are to love one another because we belong to one another in Christ.

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Answer Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” 3

Answer Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” 3

grudem4 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Answering Wayne Grudem 3

This is the part 3 of answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” and his “Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered”.  Today I am posting his third question and my own answer.

Wayne Grudem’s question #3:

3. “or’’ (Greek e): In 1 Corinthians 14:36, some of you argue that the Greek word e (“or’’) shows that the preceding verses are a quotation from the Corinthian church which Paul denies. Therefore you say that Paul is not really telling the Corinthian church,

“the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church” (1 Cor. 14:34–35),

but the Corinthians are saying those things, and Paul is just quoting them. You tell us that Paul’s response might be paraphrased as “Are you crazy?’’ This, you tell us, is the force of the tiny Greek word e, which is usually translated “or.’’ You tell us that e, “or,’’ is used in Greek to deny what went before it.

Our problem is that when we look at other examples of e used in constructions like 1 Corinthians 14:36, where the following material is clearly false (that is, Paul and the Corinthians know that the word of God did not come from them), then “or’’ functions to show that the preceding material has to be true. This would mean that verses 34–35 are affirmed by Paul.

To put it another way, Paul is arguing:
You must do A.
Or: Is B true?
(No.)
Then you must do A.

This is just the opposite of what you claim. You claim that Paul uses “or’’ to deny A (verses 34–35). In fact, we can find no parallel examples where it is used to deny both what precedes and what follows. This is also what all the Greek lexicons tell us. So our question is this:
Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “or’’ (e) is used to introduce what the readers know to be false, so the author can deny both what goes before and what follows?

If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if you cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of this key verse, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.

 

Cheryl’s answer:

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Women in ministry issue causes distrust

Women in ministry issue causes distrust

Distrust?

This post is from an inspiration I got from Katie Cole’s blog and a two part segment on Youtube on the issue of women in ministry from the series “Designing Women”.  Katie writes:

One Bible verse, quoted to me out of context on its own, is no longer sufficient for me.

I think you will find the two youtube clips inspiring.  They show that women can speak up and women can make a difference.

Clip 1:  Charlene loses faith in her minister

Clip 2:  Charlene speaks to minister and Julia sings

Semigalitariansim, undercover enemy and “feminist air”

Semigalitariansim, undercover enemy and “feminist air”

fight-7-cheryl-schatz

Semigalitarianism, Undercover Enemy and “feminist air”

When does explaining God’s Word make one an enemy of the church?  According to Mike Seaver, a woman who is allowed to teach the Word of God to men, even if she is under the authority of her husband and even if she has received authority from her pastor to teach the Bible (and assuming her pastor is monitoring her teaching), is like a drunken adulterer ministering to God’s people.  [Mike Seaver has written a blog post at CBMW identifying the issue of women teaching the bible to men as the undercover enemy of the church.  Mike is a pastor at CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and regularly posts at Role Calling see his original article here.]

According to Seaver the church has been breathing “feminist air” and this has caused many churches to become “semigalitarian”.  [According to Seaver, semigalitarianism is defined as those people (both men and women) who say that a woman should not be allowed to preach in a church on her own authority, but if she claims to be under the authority of her senior pastor (who is a man) and under the authority of her husband (who is obviously a man) then it is okay for her to teach men in the church.]  But while Seaver is complaining of “feminist air”, he has unwittingly become infected with a “disease” that allows Christians to see passages of scripture as “clear” (1 Timothy 2:12-13) instead of as a complex passage in its complete context (1 Timothy 2:11-15).

The attitude of identifying godly women as enemies of the church is clearly an aggressive stand equating a woman explaining the meaning of the scriptures with a drunken adulterer.  It reminds me of the prejudiced view of the Orthodox Jews who believe that only men are allowed to touch the Torah.

torah7-Cheryl-Schatz on Women in Ministry

Apparently touching the Bible by giving an explanation of the meaning of a passage now makes one an “undercover enemy.”  How far has the church fallen that some feel free to attack our sisters in Christ identifying them as enemies?  Notice that Seaver says nothing about whether the woman’s teaching is correct or not.  He is lumping true Bible teaching in with error because it is the vessel which is the enemy, not the words that she speaks.  It is the mere fact that she would touch the Word of God in public that makes her an enemy.  This is the same tradition of the Pharisees who added a restriction on the teaching of God’s Word.

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Round 9 Interview with the Apostle Paul – God does just as He pleases

Round 9 Interview with the Apostle Paul – God does just as He pleases

hands

This is the ninth in a series of simulated interviews with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.

Doug, a strong complementarian will be questioning Paul on 1 Corinthians 14.  Paul will be speaking to him about the Sovereignty of God and whether there are restrictions on women in the church.  Let’s listen in.  (Links to the previous interviews are at the bottom of this post.)

 

Doug: Paul, I am anxious to talk about 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 today.  This is the final passage that convinced me that you did not allow women to teach the bible to the entire congregation.  This is also one of the clearest passages there is.

Paul: I am very happy to be able to help you out with this passage.  We do need to remember the complete context of this passage so that you will know how to interpret it in line with all that I taught.  We are going to work with another box today.  Today the box will be the filter that we need to read 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 through.

Doug: Why do we need a filter?

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The all new 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 Church

The all new 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 Church

Cheryl_Schatz_men_are_better

I don’t do “humor” too much on this blog, although I love humor and I love to laugh.  The issue of women in ministry is normally a serious one but I couldn’t resist this funny cover that comes from my friend Pastor Jon Zens.  Pastor Jon’s web site is here and he has written a good article on 1 Timothy 2:11-15 here called Are the sister free to function? There is also an answer to whether a woman is to be silent in the church here called A discussion on silent women.  Pastor Jon has been very support of the function of women in the church using their God-given gifts.  He has been a personal encouragement to me and he recommends my DVD set to many people.

Jon also has a new video clip on the front page of his web site revealing his views that the church should not have a clergy class but that elders and pastors are a part of the body of Christ and not a special “class” of believers.

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul’s commands

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul’s commands

We have been going through 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, the passage that appears to silence women in the church to see how carefully Paul has constructed his words in 1 Corinthians 14:36 to contradict the silencing in verses 34 & 35.  (For past articles on this topic, please see the 1 Corinthians 14 section).

Now we come to Paul’s conclusions and in keeping with the force of the commands that Paul has given throughout chapter 14, Paul ends with two commands that completely blow away any misunderstanding that verses 34 & 35 are Paul’s words to the church instead of a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul.

What is “therefore” there for?

Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:39 “therefore” my brethren…  The word “therefore” is a conjuction that joins together Paul’s words in verses 36-38 with the commands in verses 39 and 40.  All of this directly contradicts the injunction found in verses 34 and 35.  Let’s see how Paul concludes his contradiction of the silencing of women.

1 Corinthians 14:39  Therefore my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy…

The first command of Paul’s in his summary is a repeat of what Paul had already commanded in verse 1.  Paul writes in Philippians 3:1 that repetition is for our safety.  The body of Christ is to desire earnestly to prophesy and this repetition at the end of the chapter is to make sure that we “get it”.  Remember that Paul gave the reason why they were to desire earnestly to prophesy and the reason is for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 14:3, 4)

Speaking forth and keeping silent

Now let’s have another look at the entire chapter of 1 Cor. 14 to see what pattern is set forth regarding speaking and not speaking so that we can completely understand Paul’s summary.

“Speaking forth” allowed:

  • All commanded to seek spiritual gifts especially prophesying in the assembly  (verse 1)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies, exhorts and consoles  (verse 3)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies all  (verse 4)
  • Gifts for use for the common good are greater than a gift that only edifies one’s self (verse 5)

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Let her learn….or not?

Let her learn….or not?

In our continuing discussion of 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, we come to the problematic area of learning.

1 Corinthians 14:35 And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home…

What can we pull out regarding “learning” in this verse?  We can see that if a woman has a desire to learn, she isn’t encouraged to do it in church.  Where is she supposed to learn?  Her learning is to be done under her husband’s permission and it is to be done at home.

The requirement that a woman is not to learn in public is not a Christian regulation but a part of the “law” of the Jews.  Women were not to be taught the scriptures according to the oral tradition of the Jews.  Why?  Because she was not allowed to touch the scriptures and so she didn’t need to be a rabbinical student and publicly learn.  She also would have no one to teach the scriptures to since the men were considered to be the ones who had the responsibility to handle and teach the Torah.  Women need not learn.  They were not qualified to learn.

In previous posts we have been listing the markers in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 that prove that Paul was quoting from the Corinthians and then refuting their claims in verse 36.  The wording about women learning at home (v. 35) instead of in the assembly once again ties these verses into man-made tradition.

But this isn’t Paul’s way nor is it God’s way.  Paul had just told us in verse 31:

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted

Not only were all allowed to prophesy in the assembly, but the public prophesying was so that all may learn in that public assembly.  The learning was done by all just as the prophesying was done by all.  All may learn publicly.  Paul does not relegate women to learning at home.  He allows them to learn in the assembly since it is the body of Christ (not just a woman’s husband) who are responsible for helping her to learn.

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Forbid not

Forbid not

Forbid not….

Paul said something profound in 1 Corinthians 14:39 that goes against the grain of the hierarchical mindset.  Paul said “forbid not to speak…”

This is not an issue of whether tongues is valid today or not.  What is the issue is the command to “forbid not” to speak in the assembly.  Let’s walk through this passage to see how it is all connected together.

In 1 Cor. 14:34 it says women are “not permitted to speak” in the churches.  The Greek word is “epitrepetai” and it means to give liberty to, allow, give permission, entrust to.  So according to verses 34 & 35, speaking in the assembly is forbidden because there is no permission given to allow women to speak and a “law” is appealed to that takes away the ability for women to speak in the assembly.  Verse 36 is set up as a contradiction of verses 34 & 35.   Paul answers by stating “n” which is a disjunctive conjunction which is used “to distinguish things or thoughts which either mutually exclude each other, or one of which can take the place of the other” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon.  Thayer’s lists 1 Cor. 14:36 as an example of “n” used “before a sentence contrary to the one just preceding, to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand”

What then is being denied by the “n” in verse 36?  It is the command in verse in verse 34 & 35 that women are to be silent.  How does Paul deny this command and the appeal to the law of men? (see The Elusive Law and Is a Woman’s Voice Filthy? for further information on why these two verses are to be considered a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul and not the actual words of Paul himself.)

Paul demands to know if the word of God comes only through them (the men demanding the silencing of women) and he demands to know if only they are to receive God’s word.  In other words, Paul is demanding to know if God only speaks through men and God only gives his word to men and does not speak through women and to women.  Remember that the command to silence women also denied their learning in the assembly.  If they wanted to learn anything, they were commanded to learn at home.  Paul in essence asks where is this God’s word?  Where are women forbidden to speak God’s words and where are women forbidden to learn God’s words?  It is certainly true that in the oral law of the Jews women were forbidden to speak in the assembly and women were forbidden to be taught God’s word.  For a father to teach his daughter the Torah was considered immoral by the Jews because women were forbidden to handle God’s word and so there was no need to learn it.

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Who dared to contradict Paul?

Who dared to contradict Paul?

Many people have a big problem with Paul because they think that he was sexist.  I would like to change that point of view by looking carefully at the text so that we can fully appreciate Paul for who he was, not the false impression that we have of Paul.  Under God’s inspiration Paul refuted faulty tradition and that faulty tradition included sexism that was prevalent during his day.  Let’s have a look how Paul did that.

In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul responded to a letter written to him by the Corinthians.  In 1 Corinthians 7:1, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 7:1  Now concerning the things about which you wrote….

Paul then quotes from the letter written to him and every time he quotes the letter, Paul contradicts the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 7:1….(Corinthians) it is good for a man not to touch a woman

1 Corinthians 7:2 (Paul) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have her own husband.

1 Corinthians 10:23 (Corinthians) All things are lawful  (Paul) but not all things are profitable.  (Corinthians) All things are lawful (Paul) but not all things edify.

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 (Corinthians) The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper (filthy) for a woman to speak in church.

1 Corinthians 14:36 (Paul) (What!?!) was it from you that the word of God went forth? (What!?!) has it come to you only?

In verse 36 Paul starts each statement with the Greek word “n” which isn’t always evident in the translations as some completely ignore this word.  It is a term used to show that the question implies a negative answer – a negation of something that has just proceeded it.  It would be the equivalent of stating a false statement and then saying “Bunk!” or “Horse feathers!” or “You have got to be kidding!”  So what Paul is doing here is negating what was just quoted.  Since Paul cannot negate himself, it is evident that the quote from verses 34 & 35 is a quote from the Corinthian letter to Paul.

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1 Corinthians 14, is a woman’s voice filthy?

1 Corinthians 14, is a woman’s voice filthy?

Quiet on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

In the last post we talked about how there is no “law” in the Old Testament scriptures that forced women to be silent in the assembly so the reference in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 had to be some other “law” that forced silence on women.  The “law” that silences women is found not in God’s law, but in the oral tradition of the Jews, now written down in the Talmud.

The next red flag that points to another source other than God’s law, for the saying in verses 34 & 35 is the charge that a woman’s voice is filthy.  Verse 35 says:

1 Corinthians 14:35  If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home;for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

The word translated as “improper” is shameful or filthy.  Is a woman’s voice shameful?  Is a woman’s voice filthy?  The oral law of the Jews said her voice was indecent, filthy and shameful.  A woman was not allowed to speak in their congregations for the sake of the men.  Her voice was considered a sexual enticement thus a woman was not to speak publicly.

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The elusive law

The elusive law

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 has been a problem passage because of two issues that stick out like a sore thumb.  The first issue is the elusive law.

Elusive law on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

The problem that occurs in this passage is that the “law” is the key reference for the required silence.  Many have tried to ignore this “elusive” law making their interpretation around it.  This has resulted in the silencing of women from asking their husbands questions in the assembly.  But where is this “elusive” law found that silences only women from asking questions in the assembly?  Paul doesn’t say that it is disruptive to talk in the assembly.  The wording is a direct prohibition attached to an existing “law”.

Some have tried to “shoe horn” Genesis 3:16 as a “law” that silences women.  This connection is not possible.  For women like myself who have very supportive husbands who encourage me to use my gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ (including benefiting men), I am not being silenced at all by Genesis 3:16 no matter how the “he will rule over you” is taken.

So where is the “law” that silences women in the assembly?  One cannot interpret this passage without finding the elusive law.

I will let my readers answer this one before we continue on with 1 Corinthians 14.  What do you think?  Why is there a “law” quoted in 1 Cor. 14:34 that cannot be found in the Old Testament?   Have you heard of any other reference to a “law” from the Old Testament?  Is it possible that verse 34 is a new law that Paul has just created?  Why or why not?

Scriptural fences

Scriptural fences

One of the helpful things in interpreting scripture is to identify what I call “scriptural fences”. These special verses force us to interpret the passage within the limits set up by the “fence” line. When we can identify a “fence” in scripture, we are well on our way to understanding the apparent contradictions within scripture. In this post I am going to give three examples of scripture “fences”.

The first fence line is found in Revelation chapter 21.

Rev. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Now to some, this may not seem like a “fence” but when we read in Acts 1 that the apostles picked Matthias to replace Judas, we have a contradiction that needs to be dealt with:

Act 1:20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’; and, ‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’

Act 1:21 “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us–

Act 1:22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

Act 1:23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.

Act 1:24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen

Act 1:25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

Act 1:26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

How could Matthias be an apostle who replaces Judas when Paul claimed to be an apostle picked by the risen Christ? Some may claim that there are actually 13 foundational apostles, but that is impossible. Why? It is because of the scriptural “fence”. The book of Revelation states that they are 12 apostles who form the foundation stones, not 13. If we interpret scripture with the understanding that Revelation 21:14 forms a boundary or a “fence” that places a boundary for our understanding, then we need to make a decision; was Paul the 12th apostle or was Matthias? Did you ever wonder why Paul had to try so hard to prove his apostleship? It is because Psalms 109:8 says that another is to take his (Judas) place and the 11 disciples had already picked the 12th before Paul even came on the scene.

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Tektonics on 1 Corinthians 14

Tektonics on 1 Corinthians 14

I received an excellent link to a post on the subject of Paul silencing women in 1 Corinthians 14 and I wanted to pass it on for all to see.  It is called “Shut Her Bug” and is an excellent piece by James Patrick Holding.  The link is here and I especially liked it because it is exactly what I could clearly see in the Corinthian passage that previously had seemed to completely silence women in the church.  It looks like there are more and more people having their eyes opened to the “elusive law” as I call it from 1 Corinthians 14.  Enjoy.  Thanks to Pastor “D” for the link.

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